Friday 27 April 2007

Into the mix

Something to add to the debate regarding the proposed resale royalties scheme: a bill has been put before the US Congress (for the fifth time) that would allow artists who donate their work to museums or libraries to deduct the fair market price from their taxes. Currently, collectors who donate art works to public institutions can make this deduction, but artists can only claim the costs of materials.

Bill encourages artists' donations (again) - The Art Newspaper

Interestingly, artists' right to a deduction was revoked in the US in 1969 after some artists were caught inflating the value of their donated works.

In New Zealand, there are no tax incentives for anyone to donate art works to public collections.

Thursday 26 April 2007

Free tools for free lancers

As part of my job (one of the best parts) I'm meant to spend an hour a day learning about web-related things. I wish that when I worked previously at an art gallery that I'd been encouraged to spend an hour a day learning about art-related things.

I started thinking about how I could merge the things that I was learning about online with the things that I'm interested in in my offline life. As a result, I've started work on the Best of 3 wiki: Free tools for free lancers.

The wiki is designed to be a resource for freelancers, particularly freelancers in the visual arts. It brings together a range of online tools and resources, all of which I've had a bash at, and all of which are free, or have a free option. Currently, the resources range from services for sending large files to good places to find art writing online to a Plain English video that will show you how to start up an RSS feedreader to places to look for work.

Free tools for free lancers is hosted by Wetpaint, itself a free tool that lets non-tech people (like me) build their own wiki. Check out their site to see how easily you could be doing this. It's a great way to run long-term projects or work with communities of interest: The Association of Collaboration, for example, would be better served by a wiki than their current blog.

I'll keep adding content to Free tools for free lancers over time. Any suggestions, or requests to join the wiki, are welcome.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Word of the week

Okay - a phrase. 'Email bankruptcy' - when you're so far behind on replying to your email that you quit trying to catch up, and instead send a mass email to all your contacts, telling them that if their email was important, they better resend it, or it's all over rover.

Email bankruptcy - Valleywag

Hey big spenders

An engrossing article published in the Los Angeles Times over the weekend documented the annual LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Collectors Committee spend up.

At the annual gathering - a 'weekend gala' - members of the Collectors Committee (minmum membership $15,000 per year, with a new $5,000 category for under 40s, to encourage younger philanthropists) are wooed by LACMA curators, each promoting a potential work for the permanent collection. Following two private viewings, a round of powerpoint presentations and a big dinner, a voting marathon ensues.

Fun and funds with LACMA's Collectors Committee - Suzanne Muchnic

Monday 23 April 2007

Journey to the Center of My Rolodex

That's Jerry Saltz's alternative title for Alanna Heiss's 'Not for sale' exhibition at P. S. 1 - a collection of works by 46 artists that are held in their own collections, and are not available for purchase.

The title is a response to Heiss's stated curatorial strategy: "This show is a personal one: I called artists whom I know well and who happened to be at home. It also represents some kind of manifestation of my unfortunate allergy to the commercial aspects of art.”

Read Saltz's review here: 'Not buying it' - New York Magazine

Read more about the exhibition here: 'Not for sale' - PS1 website

Read Edward Winkleman's response here: 'It's NOT the art market - Edward Winkleman'

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Are you listening, New Zealand art galleries?

Reviewing 'High Times, Hard Times: New York Paintings 1967-1975', Jerry Saltz show that you can turn art history into a good exhibition.

Get me a Brush, Stat! - Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine

A cracker

Yep, lame cracks abound in articles about the Guggenheim's new exhibition detailing the repair of its disintegrating facade. The New York Times has this nifty image from the show, with all the repairs needed marked up in hot pink.

Face lift for an aging museum - The New York Times

Resale royalties update

Follow the links from commentary from:

Jim Barr and Mary Barr:

John Hurrell et al:

Michael Smither and John Gow: (scroll down) and Morning (scroll right down)

Russell Brown:

Artists Alliance:

Brian Rudman:

Hayden Dewes: Dominion

Monday 16 April 2007

Resales on the agenda

The heat on this issue has been turned up from 'simmer' to 'rolling boil' (or whatever - I'm not the cook) with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage releasing a discussion paper on the possible establishment of resale royalty rights for visual artists today.

Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists: Discussion Paper - MCH website

Discuss away - the submission date is June 22.

And for your reading pleasure - the Helen and Judith media release

Art resale royalties to be considered - Beehive website

Webbs - taking it to the mat

Perhaps as a profile-building exercise in the face of the new Art + Object auction house publicity attack, Webbs have just been announced as the presenting sponsor for the Arts Foundation's New Zealand Award for Patronage. The news isn't posted on either the Webb's or the Art Foundation website, so here's the release:



The Arts Foundation of New Zealand is proud to announce a new partnership with Webb’s - Fine Art Auctioneers.

Webb’s are the Presenting Sponsor of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage.The annual Award honours a philanthropist for their generous support of the arts. In 2006, the inaugural recipients were Denis and Verna Adam.

The 2007 recipient of the Award will be announced at a special ceremony on May 8th at the Auckland Art Gallery.

“As a company with an in-depth understanding of the quality of art, the Arts Foundation is proud to be associated with Webb’s”, said Ros Burdon, Chairman of the Arts Foundation.

“We are grateful for Webb’s generous support of the Arts Foundation and their contribution to recognising our leading arts patrons.”

“Webb’s has strongly supported the visual arts in New Zealand since its inception over thirty years ago”, said Peter Webb, Director of Webb’s.

“We have done this by pioneering a sound secondary market for local works of art; by cataloguing and displaying such works in a professional manner and by initiating ‘collectives’ to further introduce buyers into the market.

"It therefore makes perfect sense for Webb’s to give its enthusiastic support to an award that recognises the vital role of the patron and donor in the world of the arts. Without the foresight and generosity of patrons, we as a community would be very much the poorer.”

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage is made annually to a person, couple, or private trust for outstanding private contributions to the arts. The recipients of this Award will, in time, constitute a grand circle of patrons whose generosity has impacted significantly on New Zealand, by nourishing, enriching and bringing us closer to the artistic world.

Honoured for their philanthropy, the recipients are celebrated as role models for all those who are passionate about the arts and as inspiration to those that wish to support the arts to do so at any level.

To demonstrate that patronage is alive and well the recipient is provided the task of distributing $20,000 (gifted by the Arts Foundation) to artists or arts projects of their choice.

The Foundation intends the gifting of funds to the arts as an appropriate reward for the patrons and a direct honour of them as experts in supporting the arts.

“Through its association with the Arts Foundation, Forsyth Barr too understands the value of patronage, so we are delighted to welcome Webb's to the family of supporters and sponsors.

"Their support for the Arts Foundation of New Zealand's Award for Patronage speaks volumes of their understanding of the vital role that Patrons play. We look forward to joining with them and the Arts Foundation on May 8 in Auckland," said Neil Paviour-Smith, Managing Director, Forsyth Barr.


Webb's was established in 1976 to bring to the New Zealand market a higher level of professionalism in the selling of works of art in all categories by auction. Since that date the company has grown to become a leader not only in selling fine art but also in the specialist fields of decorative arts, jewellery, estate, household effects and wine under the hammer.

Webb's auctions are a great place to learn about the markets for art, antiques and collectables. Webb's conducts more than one hundred and fifty sales each year from its salerooms off Broadway, in Auckland. The sales attract art and antique dealers and collectors from all over New Zealand, and frequently buyers from locations abroad.


Artbash is calling for a new name (on the basis that the current one screams of negativity. This point is disputed by John Hurrell, who feels the site is an "even balance between critique and celebration". And then he suggested "the pashin' art people".)

New name for Artbash? - Artbash website

The Bashers should check out this article on which recommends a process for naming a digital product that involves constraints, time, user-testing and one-syllable names starting with a hard consonant ....

How to name your company -

Friday 13 April 2007

All white!

Following on from yesterday's Clean | Fresh | Pure | Angus - 'Pure' is an exhibition at New York's Sean Kelly Gallery, featuring all-white works by a range of artists, from Duchamp to Callum Innes via Joseph Beuys and Jenny Holzer.

Possible one-word New Zealand group exhibitions I have thought of:
  • Tidy
  • Straight
  • Sexy (small show)
  • Funny (smaller show)
  • Angry
  • Bitter

Image: Iran do Espirito Santo, Water Glass, 2006/07. Solid pure crystal.

Thursday 12 April 2007

Copy cats

Or should that be copy cows?

Today's interesting online discovery: the New Zealand Angus Association's homepage is not only visually similar to the PureNZ (Tourism New Zealand) homepage, but also bears the legend
Clean | Fresh | Pure | Angus.


The site also has a nice little search function where you can search cattle brands by letter or by name, or browse brands that use symbols.

Wednesday 11 April 2007

Bringing sexy back

Oestrogen met testosterone on Frontseat on Saturday morning, with Josie McNaught's interview with the four guys behind the new Art + Object auction house.

"Josie McNaught meets the lads who are taking on the auction industry's old guard" - TVNZ website

And yet ....

"Ultimately flawed, yet ultimately perfect"

Sarah Jane Parton @ The Physics Room

"We are free to play as we wish, yet at the same time we are always mediated by the boundaries"

Toshi Endo @ The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

"Ironic, yet earnest"

Fiona Gillmore @ The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

"The world in miniature, as depicted by Marie Shannon, is just like—and yet nothing like—real life as we know it."

Marie Shannon @ City Gallery Wellington

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Road map to getting a dealer

Blogger and art dealer Edward Winkleman has posted some more advice for artists looking to secure representation:

One More Time, With Feeling (seriously) - Edward Winkleman

This suggestion ...

"Once you have a short list of galleries that are a good match strike up a conversation with those galleries. You may not gain initial access to the dealers, but in some galleries you can. In these conversation, be generous and insightful. Demonstrate that you understand what the gallery is doing and that you like it. Do all of this before you broach the subject of your own work. Consider doing it and leaving it at that for a while."

... has given rise to a lot of comments of the 'brown-nosing' type. But as Winkleman points out - if you don't respect what a dealer is doing, why would you want to be part of it?

Road map to collecting

Recently I've read a couple of books about collecting contemporary art; Adam Lindemann's Collecting Contemporary (Taschen, 2006) and Louisa Buck and Judith Greer's Owning Art: The contemporary art collector’s handbook (Cultureshock Media Ltd, 2006). Although they describe a world quite far removed from art collecting in New Zealand ("placement", "fractional giving", "horizontal" cp. "vertical" collecting), they're still fascinating.

A new book on the block about collecting contemporary art, Pablo Helguera’s Manual of Contemporary Art Style (Jorge Pinto Books, 2007), is reviewed by
András Szántó on Art World Salon.

Manual of Contemporary Art Style - Art World Salon

Thursday 5 April 2007

The tyranny of exchange rates

Britain's regional galleries are being offered £5m buy and display contemporary art from overseas.

The money is being put up by the Art Fund to provide "the stimulus and the means of changing insular collecting habits".

In an article in the Guardian, the director of the Art Fund is quoted: "It's a desert out there. If you wander around our regional galleries, you won't find any evidence that there is artistic life beyond these shores."

£5m to tackle the insularity of UK art galleries - The Guardian

Regional galleries are being asked to put forward proposals for the funding, which will be spread over 5 years. The Art Fund hopes that galleries will look to the work of an emerging generation of international artists, rather than "the 300 artists who feature strongly at Frieze and Basel".

The article suggests galleries could collect works from places such as "sub-Saharan Africa, the Islamic world, or the Indian subcontinent". I say CNZ should start talking up New Zealand's attractive combination of affordability and exoticism.

Image: Peter Robinson, Strategic Plan - First We Take Manhattan, 1997. Collection FRAC Lorraine (that's overseas, you know).

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Feeling flush?

It's a bit late for Christchurch Art Gallery, but with redevelopments underway (Auckland Art Gallery) and on the cards (City Gallery Wellington), here's a way of shaking the last drop out of naming rights:

Here’s to Loo: Naming rights and museum restrooms - Walker Art Blog

Monday 2 April 2007

New Zealand's 10 greatest paintings

I was going to try to write something incisive about the list of NZ's 10 greatest painting chosen by a group of NZ's visual art luminaries in this week's Listener. I wasn't sure what I wanted to say, but I knew I wanted to squeeze the phrase 'a sad indictment' in there somewhere.

As it is, I've decided to just post the list for posterity, so one day when I'm old and and frail and looking back fondly on the riches that life has presented to me, I'll be able to mull over what people thought about painting in this country in early April, 2007.

  • 'Māori rock art' (date unknown), proposed by Andrew Paul Wood
  • Petrus van der Velden, 'A waterfall in the Otira Gorge' (1891), proposed by David Eggleton
  • Rita Angus, 'Cass' (1936), proposed by Jenny Harper
  • Frances Hodgkins, 'Kimmeridge foreshore' (c. 1938), proposed by Mary Kisler
  • Colin McCahon, 'French Bay' (1956), proposed by Peter Simpson
  • Micahel Smither, 'Christ driving the money lenders from the temple' (1972), proposed by Stuart McKenzie
  • Philip Clairmont, 'Window' (1978), proposed by Martin Edmond
  • Philippa Blair, 'A man's tent is like a god's temple' (1982), proposed by Tessa Laird
  • Julian Dashper, 'Mural for a contemporary house 4' (1988), proposed by Robert Leonard
  • Shane Cotton, 'Red shift' (2006-07), proposed by Jim Barr and Mary Barr.

Eat your heart out , Bill

Actually, I can imagine Peter Peryer being drawn to this project as well. As artist-in-residence at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, photographer Catherine Wagner had access to their collection of 50,000+ historical light bulbs, dating back to the early 19th century. The works are now on show at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco.

Rolling off the tongue

Ugly word of the week: Glocalization, the nasty meeting place of the global and the local. Coming to a wall label near you soon.